Pineapples

19 Interesting Facts About Pineapple

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The pineapple (Ananas comosus) is one of the most popular and beloved of tropical fruits. Its sweet and tart flavor makes it a refreshing treat, and its spiky leaves and texture make it visually interesting as well. Here are 19 fascinating facts about this tropical fruit.

1. Pineapples Are Not a Single Fruit

What appears to be a single pineapple is a group of individual flowerets that fuse together around a central core. Each scale on a pineapple’s skin represents a separate floweret.

2. Pineapple Plants Produce Just One Fruit

Unlike apple or citrus trees, which can produce hundreds of fruits over their lifetime, the pineapple plant yields just one pineapple at a time. After fruiting, the mother plant dies. Actually it produces two fruits per year, though the second is often smaller than the first.

3. They Were Once Status Symbols

During the 1700s and 1800s, pineapples were so rare and coveted that people would rent a pineapple for the night to show off to fellow party-goers. Most people had never seen one!

4. Pineapples Were The Ultimate Housewarming Gift

Pineapple
Pineapple

If you were rich back in colonial times, it was customary for guests to bring pineapples as a housewarming gift. The fruit’s prickly exterior represented the trials of life ahead, and its sweet interior represented the sweetness of new relationships.

5. Pineapple Leaves Can Be Used To Make Textiles

In the Philippines, pineapple leaves are processed to make a lightweight, sheer fabric called piƱa (also called pineapple silk). Shirts and dresses made from the fabric are light, airy and said to have a silky smoothness.

6. They Contain Bromelain

Pineapples contain an enzyme called bromelain, which aids digestion. Bromelain also has anti-inflammatory properties.

7. The Enzyme Makes Pineapple Juice A Meat Tenderizer

That same enzyme, bromelain, breaks down protein chains into amino acids. Meat marinated in pineapple juice becomes tender because bromelain partially digests the meat proteins.

8. Pineapple Corers Were Invented To Eat The Fruit More Easily

Pineapples can be challenging to prepare because of their tough, prickly skin. In the early 1900s, inventors created a cylindrical tool with serrated edges for coring pineapples. Sliced pineapple became much more accessible after this, increasing its popularity.

9. Pineapple Harvest Happens By Hand

Unlike other fruits, pineapple harvests have never been successfully automated. The fruits do not mature at the same rate, so they must be selected by hand when ripe. Pineapples are still picked by hand today.

10. Pineapple Peels Can Be Used For Baking And Crafts

While not as sweet as the flesh, pineapple peels are edible and contain beneficial enzymes like bromelain. Peels can be candied, used in vinegar or baked goods, or turned into decorative home accents.

11. Pineapples Are Full Of Vitamin C

A serving of pineapple contains 131% of your daily value of Vitamin C. Sailors and explorers used to eat pineapples to prevent scurvy out at sea.

12. Pineapples Are Grown As Houseplants

While they require warm temperatures year-round, pineapples can be successfully grown as houseplants. Potted pineapple plants make an unusual conversation piece.

13. Pineapple Have To Be Propagated From Slips

Commercial pineapple plants are propagated from slips, which are shoots growing from the fruit’s crown. The crown of “leaves” at the top of a pineapple fruit can be cut off and replanted to grow another pineapple plant.

14. Pineapples Were Once Known As “Ananas”

Tropical pineapples growing on tree
Tropical pineapples growing on tree

Early European explorers called them “”ananas,” derived from the Tupi word for “excellent fruit.” This is the origin of the modern genus name Ananas.

15. Pineapple Have Been Cultivated For Over 6000 Years

Pineapples have a long history of cultivation in South America and the Caribbean, going back to indigenous peoples over 6000 years ago. Christopher Columbus brought pineapples back to Europe after encountering them in Guadeloupe.

16. Pineapples Are Not Actually Native To Hawaii

Despite being an icon of Hawaiian cuisine, pineapples were first introduced to Hawaii in the 1820s by Spanish explorers. Hawaii’s tropical climate turned out to be perfect for growing sweeter pineapples.

17. Pineapple Leaves Can Help You Find Your Way In The Forest

In South America, the Guarani Indians were known to use pineapple leaves to navigate forests. They would split the stiff leaves down the middle and use them as improvised compasses to find their way out by following the direction they lay flat.

18. There’s A Pineapple Carving Competition In Thailand

In Thailand, pineapple carving is an art. Chefs compete to carve the most intricate scenes, figures, flowers and even celebrities faces into the fruit’s rind. Some use the leaves in their designs too.

19. “Pineapple” Is Pronounced Differently Around The World

Most North Americans say PINE-apple. But in Britain, South Africa, Australia and elsewhere, it’s pronounced pine-APPLE. Both are correct pronunciations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Pineapple
Pineapple

What part of the pineapple do you eat?

You eat the flesh of the pineapple fruit. The rind, crown, leaves, and core are all inedible.

How do you tell if a pineapple is ripe?

Choose a pineapple that is heavy for its size, gives slightly under gentle pressure, and has a sweet, tropical fragrance. Avoid fruit with soft spots or dark “eyes”.

How do you cut a pineapple?

Cut off the crown and base of the fruit. Stand it upright and slice off the rind, cutting deep enough to remove the eyes. Then make vertical cuts to slice it into rounds, and cut out the tough core from each round.

Can dogs eat pineapple?

Yes, dogs can eat pineapple in small amounts. Pineapple flesh is safe, but avoid feeding the prickly skin or leaves. Pineapple contains bromelain so introduce it slowly.

What nutrients are in pineapple?

Pineapples are packed with Vitamin C, manganese, Vitamin B6, copper, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin E, niacin, thiamin, calcium, iron and phosphorus. They are low calorie, fat free and cholesterol free.


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